Skip to Content

What is the best white paint without yellow undertones?

What is the best white paint without yellow undertones?

When choosing a white paint color for your home, going with a white that doesn’t have yellow undertones is essential for achieving a crisp, clean look. The key considerations when picking the best non-yellowing white paint include the paint’s undertone, sheen, quality, and price. Here are some quick answers to common questions about selecting the ideal white paint without yellow tones:

What causes yellowing in white paints? Yellow undertones in white paints come from the base pigments used to create the white color. Cheaper paints often use lower quality pigments that impart a yellowish cast.

What undertone should you look for? A white paint without yellow undertones will have a bluish, cool, or neutral undertone. Cool whites like Simply White have a hint of blue that counteracts yellow.

Does sheen affect appearance? Sheen does impact how white a paint looks. Flat finishes showcase undertones. Eggshell or satin sheens hide yellowing better. Semi-gloss and gloss are very bright whites.

Are expensive paints less yellow? Higher quality paints made with superior pigments tend to be more pure whites without as much yellowing. But some budget paints also mix good cool undertone whites.

What are the best white paint brands? Top brand for bright whites include Benjamin Moore, Sherwin-Williams, Behr. But Glidden, Valspar, Dutch Boy, and Consumer Reports’ top rated decorators’ white paints are also solid choices.

What Causes Yellow Undertones in White Paint?

When you paint a wall with white paint, often you expect a crisp, clean white, but then are disappointed to see your walls have a yellowish cast or undertone. What causes this yellowing? There are a few reasons why white paint colors can end up with yellow undertones.

Paint Pigments

The main factor that determines the undertones in white paint is the actual pigments used to create the white color. To make white paint, paint manufacturers mix together a blend of paint pigments. The resulting undertone of the paint depends on the exact formulation of pigments.

Cheaper white paints tend to use lower quality pigments that impart a yellower cast. More expensive white paints are typically able to use purer, higher quality pigments that result in whiter whites without as much yellowing.

Titanium dioxide is the dominant pigment used to create white paint. While it produces a bright white, lower grades of titanium dioxide contain impurities that can give white paint a yellowish tint.

Base Pigments

In addition to titanium dioxide, other base pigments are added to white paint that impact its undertone. Common base pigments like yellow and red iron oxides will skew white paint toward a yellower or pinker tone depending on the amounts used.

Conversely, pigments like ultramarine blue, zinc oxide, and various transparent pigments can be used as a base in white paints to offset the yellowness of lower quality titanium dioxides. The right balance of base pigments results in a neutral white paint without much undertone.

Binder Chemistry

The binders and solvents used in paint formulation also influence undertone development in white paint. Oil-based paints tend to yellow over time due to chemical changes in the binder when exposed to UV light.

Latex paints are less susceptible to yellowing from the binder chemicals, but lower quality latexes can still start out with an ivory undertone before drying into a pale yellowish white on the wall.

Picking a White Paint Undertone

When trying to avoid yellowing in your white paint, the key is to pick a white paint color with an undertone that counters or limits yellow tones. The main undertones to look for in quality white paints are:

Cool Undertones

Cool undertones are created by adding just a hint of blue into the white paint. This neutralizes any yellowness from cheaper pigments and results in a more pure-looking white.

Benjamin Moore’s Simply White is an example of a white paint with a light cool undertone that maintains a bright white appearance.

Neutral Undertones

White paints with a neutral undertone have pigments carefully balanced to avoid skewing too yellow or too blue. They provide a flexible, versatile white that works in any space.

Sherwin-Williams’ Extra White is a popular neutral white paint choice with wide appeal.

Blue-Green Undertones

Some designer whites push the undertone more strongly toward blue/green hues. This creates an icy, stark white that provides maximum contrast in a space.

Benjamin Moore’s Chantilly Lace has a blue-green cast that offers a bright highlight white for trim/walls.

How Paint Sheen Impacts Undertone

Another factor to think about when selecting white paint is the sheen or paint finish. The level of glossiness impacts how undertones present in white paint colors. Here’s an overview of how sheen influences undertone visibility:

Flat – Flat, matte paint has no sheen and reflects very little light. This allows more undertones to show through. Flat works for ceilings but not ideal for white walls, allowing yellowing to be noticeable.

Eggshell – Eggshell finishes have a soft, subtle sheen. The light reflectance helps mask yellow undertones while still providing some texture. It’s a popular choice for white walls.

Satin – Satin paints have a smooth, velvety sheen that reflects more light than eggshell. The higher sheen hides undertones like yellow while still giving walls dimension.

Semi-Gloss – Semi-gloss has a high shine that reflects the most light. This bright, glossy finish masks any yellow undertones for a clean white look.

Gloss – Gloss gives a mirror-like shine. It produces such a strong, reflective surface that undertones are obscured. Often used for trim.

Cost Differences Between Budget and Premium Paints

Does it cost more to get a quality white paint without yellow undertones? There is often a price difference between budget economy paints and premium brand paints when it comes to intensity of white color. Here’s an overview of cost differences:

Economy Paints

– Cheapest white paint options
– Often found for $20-30 per gallon
– Use lower grade pigments with more undertones
– Examples: Glidden Essentials, Valspar Reserve

Mid-Tier Paints

– Moderate prices around $35-50 per gallon
– Better pigments, less yellowing than economy paints
– Still affordable for most households
– Examples: Behr Marquee, Benjamin Moore Regal Select

Designer/Premium Paints

– Luxury paints ranging $50-100+ per gallon
– Use highest quality pigments for purest whites
– Most expensive whites like Farrow & Ball, Benjamin Moore Aura

Pro Tips to Save

– Purchase during sales or use coupons at home improvement stores
– Opt for smaller sample sizes or quarts for small touch ups
– Limit designer paints to feature walls or trim rather than entire rooms

So you can achieve quality whites without big expense. But invest in premium paints if you want to splurge on a showstopper white feature wall.

Top Brands for Best White Paint Colors

When searching for a bright, non-yellowing white paint, these top brands consistently perform well in terms of hide, coverage, and color quality:

1. Benjamin Moore

– Known for gorgeous white paint colors
– Simply White and White Dove are go-to whites without yellow
– Aura line provides stunning designer white paint

2. Sherwin-Williams

– Leading brand preferred by painting professionals
– Extra White and Pure White are bright, cool whites
– Emerald line has excellent hide and durability

3. Behr

– Affordable option available at Home Depot
– Premium Plus Ultra White is a top performing neutral white
– Marquee line competes with higher end paints

4. Farrow & Ball

– High end, designer brand at luxury price point
– All White is their most popular tone without yellow undertones
– Incredible depth and richness of color

5. Glidden

– Budget brand sold at Walmart and Lowes
– Glidden High Reflective White works well for cheap paint
– Diamond line matches more expensive paints in performance

Review of Top Rated White Paints

Here is a comparison overview of some of the highest rated white paint colors that avoid yellow undertones:

Brand Paint Name Undertone Sheen
Benjamin Moore Simply White OC-117 Cool Eggshell, Satin, Semi-Gloss
Sherwin-Williams Extra White 7006 Neutral Flat, Satin, Semi-Gloss
Behr Ultra Pure White MQ1-22 Slightly Cool Eggshell, Satin, Semi-Gloss
Valspar Swiss Coffee 4003-2C Warm Flat, Eggshell, Semi-Gloss
Glidden High Reflective White 30YY 75/075 Neutral Flat, Satin, Semi-Gloss

These whites score highly for their ability to avoid yellow discoloration or undertones. The combination of premium pigments and strategic undertones keep the whites looking clean and bright.

Pro Tips for Application

How you prepare and apply white paint also helps minimize imperfections like yellowing. Here are pro tips for painting with white:

– Properly prep and clean walls before painting to improve adhesion and hide existing stains or colors bleeding through.

– Apply quality primer like Kilz or Zinsser Bulls Eye to seal the surface and blank out any underlying issues.

– Use a mini roller rather than a brush for the smoothest, most seamless application of white paint.

– Maintain a wet edge and avoid stopping mid-wall to prevent lap marks and variances in tone.

– Apply multiple thin coats rather than one heavy coat to enhance hide and reduce blotchiness.

– Work quickly and systematically so paint does not dry too fast before rolling.

– Mix paint cans together for large jobs to ensure color consistency batch to batch.

These application techniques will help you achieve flawless white walls and ceilings without the dreaded yellow tinge. Taking your time with proper prep and rollout method makes all the difference.


Choosing a white paint without yellow undertones comes down to three key factors: looking for whites with a cool or neutral undertone, opting for an eggshell or satin sheen to hide imperfections, and using only quality paints that use pure pigments for maximum color accuracy. With the right white paint selection and application techniques, you can enjoy clean, vibrant whites that enhance the look of any room.